What irony?
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Jul 16 2002 Kelly Norton
What irony? There was a time not so long ago when we had all become experts in the dreaded task of telephone/modem arbitration. Some of you went and got secondary lines, while most of us poorer nerd's chose instead to hand out our email address instead of our phone number, explaining that a prompt response was more likely by email. The less flattering reasoning was that us poorer nerds seldom heard our phones ring, and when they did the caller could be sure that the answering machine would pick up after three rings. Then along came DSL and Cable modem technologies and did away with that reoccurring episode in the poor nerd's home:
Nerd's Girlfriend: Yes, Mrs. Important Person I would love to (click! Bleeeee!!… Comes in over the phone line)… I'm on the phone.
Nerd: (from across the room): Oh, sorry.
So, imagine my surprise the other day when I realized that our new cordless phone transmitted in the 2.4MHz region and interfered with our wireless LAN. And, imagine how silly the whole thing was when, while on the phone with Kristen, I told her to check her mail and she informed me that the network was down. So, I guess we are back to playing our parts in the anchronistic script:
Phone: (beep!)
Nerd Girlfriend: Wait! I'm downloading Ani DiFranco bootlegs!
Nerd: (sigh)
Of course in all this hoopla is a point and it is: yes, 802.11 is unfit for the home. And, it will soon be unfit for the office as more and more devices stake a claim in the > 2MHz region. There have already been stories of remote gate openers and other miscellaneous devices eating into the bandwidth of wireless networks. Seems to me a new standard needs to define arbitration schemes for ALL devices operating in a band. Of course, as the article points out newer 802.11x devices will actually check channels before using them. <sarcasm> Which is, hm, a novel idea.</sarcasm> But for now, Kristen and I are stuck doing the voice/data dance and it seems unlikely we will be able to do much to fix it. Anybody need a nice 2.4MHz phone? If you need to get in touch with me, you can reach me by email.